Liverpool overcome valiant young Villans

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Louie Barry, FA Cup, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Georginio Wijnaldum, Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah

Photo: 17 year old Louie Barry stole the headlines for Aston Villa in their 1-4 loss to Liverpool in the FA Cup last Friday. (Getty Images)

An Aston Villa team filled with teenagers suffered an expected, yet honorable 4-1 defeat to Liverpool during Friday’s third round match of the FA Cup.

After a crushing and embarrassing 7-2 defeat against Aston Villa in the Premier League last October, real revenge for the Reds was postponed as the Villans they were met with this time were just coming out of the starting blocks.

The Villans marched out decked in their youthful splendor without club head coach Dean Smith, or any other senior management due to a Covid outbreak in their training camp earlier in the week. This meant there were no first team players such as Olly Watkins available, but instead, the team was made up of four under-18 and seven under-23 players.

With Sadio Mané scoring the first goal of the match just four minutes in, Liverpool captured the well-expected lead but were stunted when 17-year-old Louie Barry, making his senior debut, levelled things with a well taken goal in the 41st minute. The striker having signed with Aston Villa just last January, after a transfer from FC Barcelona, is among England’s best young footballers.

Despite the persistence of Villa’s defense during the first half of the match, Liverpool upped their game during the second half and scored three goals within the space of five minutes to seal the win.

Georginio Wijnaldum restored Liverpool’s advantage in the 60th minute with Mané breezing in just three minutes later to score his second goal of the match and Liverpool’s third. The final nail in the coffin came two minutes later from Mohamed Salah at minute 65 to secure the win.

The excellent lineup on Liverpool’s side did not deter the youngsters from Aston Villa. Even though spectators could see that the Villans ran out of fuel in the second half, they still stepped up and gave the game their all.

Stand-in manger Mark Delaney in an interview after the match said he knew the young Villans had no chance of victory but no one could contest that they gave an excellent performance.

Honorable mention must be given to the 19-year-old Aston Villa goalkeeper, Akos Onodi who thwarted multiple attempted shots from veterans like Salah throughout the game.

Though defeated, Barry, the young man who came through on a silver stead, will definitely be the name on many lips and one to watch closely in the future.